Here Rex | Marcel Strigberger

By Marcel Strigberger

Law360 Canada (September 16, 2022, 2:28 PM EDT) --
Marcel Strigberger
Marcel Strigberger
Order in the courts? Is there? I see a number of issues consequent to the passing of the Queen.

Looking at the criminal system for example, for 70 years all felons knew exactly who was prosecuting them. If, call him Bill Langley, robbed a bank, the court docket would read, Regina v. Langley. Now with the ascent to the throne of King Charles poor Langley may be confused. I see a Charter argument. The accused has a fundamental right under s. 11 “to be informed upon arrest without unreasonable delay of the specific offence.” No doubt the police probably told him, “Langley, you committed an offence against the Crown. You robbed the Queen’s bank.” Can the prosecution now turn around and say, “Sorry Langley, it’s now the King’s bank”? Give me a break! 

And I doubt it makes a difference even if he robbed the Royal Bank. They can’t just change it to Rex v. Langley. He can even point to the bills he stole and say, “What king? Whose picture do you see on this cash?”

I say Langley has a good shot for a stay of proceedings.

Then we have all those proud Q.C. lawyers out there. They will clearly have to change their paraphernalia proudly now touting a “K.C.” And who will pay for this? The consumer client of course. I can easily see those senior counsel sending a bill to their clients reading:

To representing you in matrimonial matter: $2,500.

To disbursements: Photocopies, long distance calls, couriers: $140.

To changing shingle from Q.C. to K.C.: surcharge: $20.

So much for access to justice.

I see further problems with some of the courts themselves. What happens in provinces like Alberta, Manitoba, or New Brunswick where they have Courts of Queen’s Bench? Or should I say “had.” They have just vanished. Disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle of courts. As Monty Python’s iconic parrot sketch might go, “They have ceased to be, they have expired, they have gone to meet their maker …”

The provinces have of course replaced them with Courts of King’s Bench. But does this change of court in mid-trial not provide even more ammunition to the defence of Langley? As the Godfather might say, the Crown’s case sleeps with the fishes.

And since there will be some housekeeping necessary to work these issues out, perhaps it would be a good time for monarchy to make some changes to their titular designations. Is King and Queen absolutely necessary? Maybe go more neutral?   

We saw stewards and stewardesses go to flight attendants. Waiters and waitresses switch to servers.

What about using the designation, “monarch”? Maybe? Monarch Charles? Then again it sounds a bit too much like a butterfly.

Or maybe we can just use the number part of the title. King Charles would be referred to simply as “The III.”  A court docket might then read, “The III v. Langley.” No confusion at all. He’ll know we are not talking Richard III.

Even better I am looking at my deck of playing cards. I like that Jack. We can readily make this one neutral calling whoever sits on the throne “Jackie.” The docket would read, “Jackie v. Langley.” And on appeals it would go “Langley v. The Jackie.”

Badda boom badda bing!

I trust all these glitches will be worked out. Until they are, I say our legal system may have some royal problems.

Marcel Strigberger retired from his Greater Toronto Area litigation practice and continues the more serious business of humorous author and speaker. His book Boomers, Zoomers, and Other Oomers: A Boomer-biased Irreverent Perspective on Aging is now available in paper and e-book versions where books are sold. Visit Follow him @MarcelsHumour.

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